The Many Uses of Pumpkin

We’re heading into the season of pumpkin and pumpkin spice everything.  Whatever your favorite pumpkin-featured treat or food is, there is SO much to love about pumpkins.

Photo by Maciej Rusek on Unsplash

Pumpkins are a winter squash and native to North America (Mexico and the United States).  Pumpkins have been grown as early as 7000BC – 5000BC.  They’re one of the oldest domesticated plants!   

Now, let’s talk about pumpkins and their health-benefits!

Pumpkin seeds can be a healthy addition to snacks, baked goods, and trail mixes.  In our article here, we discuss how eating more pumpkin seeds can help with better sleep at night, they may promote better heart health, they can give an immune boost, and pumpkin seeds may also be able to help lower inflammation in the body.  Plus, they’re a natural diuretic and can help keep away or minimize kidney stones. Pumpkin seeds contain Zinc, Tryptophan, Vitamin E, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Protein.

A few easy ways to get more pumpkin seeds in your diet are:

  • Include them in a snack of dried berries or raisins, nuts, and dark chocolate chunks (this brand of dark chocolate pumpkin seeds is amazing!)
  • Sprinkle them on top of your smoothie for extra nutrition, texture and a nice crunch.
  • Sprinkle them on top of muffins, breads or even cookies for extra protein.  Simple Mills has some great packaged baked goods that are grain free and delicious!  (We’re having a “Buy 2 Simple Mills, Get $5 Off” sale on them through September, so click here so you can stock up!)

Pumpkin itself is also very nutritious, fiber-rich and high in many vitamins and minerals.  It’s VERY rich in beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A.  Pumpkin contains Potassium, Iron, Manganese, Copper, Selenium, and Magnesium.  And it also contains vitamin C and Vitamin E, along with a moderate dose of B Vitamins Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Niacin and Vitamin B6.  Pumpkin is a nutritional powerhouse!

You can use pumpkin in many ways!  Here are a few ideas:

  • Baked goods, which can be gluten-free, dairy free and/or Paleo.  (You can buy canned pumpkin for your baked goods at Otte Foods, plus we have a yummy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pancake Recipe here).
  • Roasted Pumpkin (Here is a Savory Roasted Pumpkin Recipe we love!)  
  • Stews – Pumpkin is a great addition to chili and other stews!   You can also make pureed pumpkin soup and garnish the top of it with roasted pumpkin seeds for a satisfying, warm autumn dinner.
  • Smoothies

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Recipe

1/3 cup to 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree – buy here
One frozen banana, cut into chunks
¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice – buy here
¼ tsp cinnamon – buy here
3/4 cup to a 1 cup of yogurt, milk or alternative milk (you can also add some yogurt and then some milk or alternative milk)
1 tsp or 2 tsp honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, or date sugar (you can add more sweetener if you want a sweeter smoothie)
½ tsp vanilla or maple extract

If you want to turn this into a green smoothie, you can experiment with adding a little fresh or frozen spinach to your smoothie, as well.

In addition to using pumpkin as a food, you can also use it as a beauty product.  It can help soothe and moisturize your face.  As colder weather arrives for many of us, doing a weekly pumpkin facial can help ease the dry skin that winter can bring.

To make a simple pumpkin facial, mix ½ cup pureed pumpkin with 1 TBS of honey.  Leave on your face for 10 minutes, then wash off.  Moisturize your face with your favorite moisturizer afterward. 

Pumpkins are so healthy and delicious!  We hope you get your fill this Autumn and winter.  And make sure you pick up a few boxes of Simple Mills Pumpkin Muffin and Bread Mix to have on hand when you want a quick, healthy pumpkin treat.